Lured - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lured Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2007
odd to say the least, but lucy is full of sass and where else are you going to see her and boris karloff teamed.
Super Reviewer
½ November 25, 2009
Having been a huge fan of I Love Lucy, it was intrigue that led me to watch her play a sexy, sassy dancer; which she played quite well. In a not so orginal plot of a serial killer in Scotland Yard, this film was dark, sophisticated, and well-acted. Ball is lured into helping the police find the poet serial killer, who has supposedly been killing off attractive dancers. She meets many strange characters in her journey to find the real killer, such as Karloff, who has a way too short role as a crazy former dress designer. George Sanders was superb as the sophisticated playboy, who must have been the model for the rich, yuppie snobs in later films. Ball falls in love with Sanders, but is he the killer? Great who-done-it that leaves you guessing until the last 15 minutes or so.
½ July 16, 2009
Solid mystery thriller, very well cast. Lucille Ball is terrific in a dramatic role. Good photography and lighting. Great pace and it's always interesting.
April 21, 2009
Nice little Scotland Yard noir-type mystery from early in Sirk's Hollywood career. Good cast, nice images, and an absolutely smashing cameo by Boris Karloff.

EDIT: I should add that watching this film at a time when news reports are widely covering the 'Craigslist killer' brings out an entirely new dimension to the film, a rather complex one of hidden fantasies found deviant by society, a theme that Sirk would go on to probe in his most famous films. Fascinating stuff.
½ August 16, 2012
Serial killer obsessed with Baudelaire? Check. Lucille Ball NOT doing "I Love Lucy"? Check. A suave British gentleman who works in a seedy profession? Check. Clearly this flick has everything you need for a perfect noir film, including the incredibly creepy Bela Lugosi. See it!
August 18, 2011
If you see "Lured" it will be one of the few chances to see Lucille Ball in a [very] dramatic role. Sandra (Ball) is a lonely American showgirl living in London just for fun. Her job is just fine, but when one of her friends goes missing, Scotland Yard suspects it was the work of a serial killer who has been placing ads in the paper for romance. The strange thing is, is that they have all been showgirls. They hire Sandra to catch the killer, but on the way she [of course] falls for a suave man (Sanders) who just might be the guy wanted. But will she be able to keep going with her work? "Lured" is a fun whodunit that I think anybody could be entertained by. This was one of Ball's few dramatic roles (and also her last) and it is really one of her best. Though this film was not a success in its day, most Lucy fans consider it to be one of her best films. "Lured" is not a typical film noir-- a woman going undercover for the cops is unheard of, and the topic of a serial killer on the loose was not very popular at the time. I can't even see why this was such a failure. Director Douglas Sirk always made soapers, and this is one of the times he takes a break from it. He keeps you at the edge of your seat until the last ten minutes, and for a huge portion of the movie you suspect somebody else as the killer. And along the way, I can't not say that you suspect a number of people, especially Boris Karloff as a psychotic dress designer. "Lured" is a very good movie that is really worth seeing.
February 22, 2011
A Low-Level Thriller With a Heck of a Cast

I dispute those who classify this as noir. It really has very few of the markers thereof. Really, it's an old-fashioned mystery with a few modernized twists. There's really only one woman in it, and far from being untrustworthy, she's the main character, the perspective character. It isn't even gender-reversal noir; yes, there's something uncertain about the man in the case, but he doesn't get Our Heroine into trouble. She manages that all on her own before actually meeting the guy. The police are dependable, though they are baffled by the string of murders in the background of the movie. And they are very much in the background for a lot of it. There's fog, but it's London, after all, and we'd be surprised if there weren't. Most of it is set at night, but that alone doesn't prove noir. I think it's just a reflex reaction to label anything with a touch of thrill made in the late '40s as noir, and I think that's mostly done by people who don't understand the genre.

Sandra Carpenter (Lucille Ball) is a taxi dancer. She's an American in London, it doesn't much matter why, and she hates her job. She gets offered a better one, an offer her best friend, Lucy Barnard (Tanis Chandler), declines to go along with her on because she's about to hook up with a man who will presumably Take Her Away From All This. Except Lucy's never heard from again. She is believed to be the eighth victim of the Poet Killer, a man who kills beautiful young women he meets through the personal ads and who sends poetry to the police to brag of his crimes. Sandra goes to the police with the information she has, and they recruit her to answer the personal ads, trying to find the killer. Along the way, she meets wealthy nightclub mogul Robert Fleming (George Sanders) and creepy ex-fashion designer Charles van Druten (Boris Karloff). She's plucky, though, and we know she'll get what she wants and evade the killer while she's at it.

Boris Karloff seems to be in the movie because, hey, Boris Karloff. He's a suspect in the killings, using the personals to find young women to model the fashions he designed decades ago. (Looking at the dress in question, it must have been a lot of decades.) He has her pose as the princess for whom she designed the dress, and he presents her as such for an imagined--or hallucinated--audience of the elite, addressing his dog as "Your Majesty." When the record playing his presentation music skips, he freaks out, locking his housekeeper (I'm not sure who plays her) in a closet and seems ready to kill Lucille Ball. It's all very exciting, but it isn't relevant to the story. We're just supposed to believe Boris Karloff has killed a whole string of young women. On the other hand, we only believe it because it's Boris Karloff. There's a whole list of reasons he can't be the killer, not least that the housekeeper is still working for him and hasn't run to the police. But look! Boris Karloff!

It must at this point be said that I don't love Lucy. I find the show sexist, racist, and irritating. The show repeatedly goes for cheap laughs. It manages to take an intelligent, independent woman and make her the butt of the joke and an example of what happens when women try to be intelligent and independent--it all goes wrong. Ricky is a crude ethnic stereotype who's doing the right thing by putting his wife in her place, which is in the home. And Lucille Ball was pretty awful to Vivian Vance. Though not as bad as William Frawley was, of course. However, I am increasingly fond of her older movies. I still think she'd have been a dreadful Scarlett O'Hara--and possibly an even worse Belle Watling, the role she was offered instead--but I think she could have been a better actress had she never become an icon. Her earlier roles were wittier, and often more challenging, than the role which made her really famous.

It's not a bad little movie, but I think what fame it has--and this was a Kino release, so that clearly isn't much--comes from what its star did after and what one of its minor characters had done before. And yet again, it makes me feel sorry for Boris Karloff. He was apparently a very nice, very popular guy, and he was trapped in the kind of role he played here, which again felt like a role created for the express purpose of cashing in on his fame. Lucille Ball wasn't quite a nobody when the movie came out, but she was awfully close. She was really just a pretty face--and she was pretty when she was young. She was, in this movie, pretty and feisty and clever. Why is she recruited as a detective? Does Scotland Yard not have young, pretty women working there? (Actually, that's not totally impossible, but it's improbable.) But the plot chugs along merrily under that improbability, and we let it. High art? No. It's probably not the best work of anyone involved, though I'm not a huge Douglas Sirk fan, either. There are worse ways to spend a morning, though.
November 21, 2009
Lured has great film-noir. George Sanders and Lucille Ball have perfect chemistry. The movie will keep you guessing until the end. This "rediscovered" classic from 1947 has one of Lucille Ball's best dramatic roles of her career. A Jack-the-Ripper-like serial killer is looking for and murdering beautiful young women, and Lucille Ball's characters friend is the killer's latest victim. Wanting desperately to help the police find the brutal murderer, she is hired by Scotland Yard to become a decoy for the killer, who lures his victims through newspaper advertisements. Lots of plot twists keep the movie exciting to the end.
½ July 16, 2009
Solid mystery thriller, very well cast. Lucille Ball is terrific in a dramatic role. Good photography and lighting. Great pace and it's always interesting.
½ May 3, 2006
Lured (aka "Personal Column")
Starring: Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, George Sanders, George Zucco, Cedrick Hardwicke, and Boris Karloff
Director: Douglas Sirk

Scotland Yard's Inspector Temple (Coburn) hires sharp-eyed, sharp-witted, and sharp-tongued down-and-out American actress Sandra Carpenter (Ball) to serve as a lure for a serial killer who has been prowling through London's shadows, murdering young women he contacts through personal ads. With her Scotland Yard "guardian angel" Barrett (Zucco) watching over her, she undertakes the dangerous task of drawing out the insane killer.

"Lured" is a well-done, light-touch police procedural thriller (with touches of romance and melodrama along the way) that features an all-star cast of 1940s B-movie actors (and a respected stage actor thrown in for good measure), all of whom deliver great performances. The dialogue is snappy, the tense moments geniuinely tense, the funny moments genuinely funny, and the many red herrings tasty. (Boris Karloff's character serves as the oddest and funniest fish of them all--and it's not a spoiler to say that he isn't the serial killer. Yes, it's the sort of part he often plays, but not here, and it will be obvious to viewers almost immediately.)

I think this is a film that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes classic mystery movies. I also think that fans of Lucille Ball will enjoy seeing her in her pre-screwball comedy days. (Speaking of comedy, George Zucco's scenes with Ball are always amusing, as Sandra repeatedly inadvertantly helps Barrett solve the crossword puzzles he's constantly working on with stray comments.) All in all, "Lured" is an enjoyable film that's worth seeking out.
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